Some 75% of respondents oppose the idea of their country joining the US-led military bloc
Two other European nations which until recently claimed to be neutral – Sweden and Finland – recently announced plans to join NATO in light of Russia’s assault on Ukraine. According to several polls, public opinion on joining the alliance has undergone a profound shift in both Nordic countries since late February, with the majority of Finns and Swedes now firmly in favor of membership.The other significant Western European state which lies outside the military bloc is Ireland. In late April, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that should Stockholm and Helsinki decide to join the alliance, they “will be warmly welcomed, and I expect that process to go quickly.” The NATO chief stopped short of giving any precise timeframe, but offered some degree of protection to both nations during the accession process, should Russia try to intimidate them.Some media outlets reported earlier this month that Finland could file its application as soon as May 12.Russia has warned Finland and Sweden that it will have to take counter measures should they become NATO members.
Speaking in mid-April, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, warned Stockholm and Helsinki that joining the military bloc would imply “de facto surrender of a part of sovereignty in making decisions on defense, and also on foreign policy.” The Russian official also urged the two nations to consider the “consequences of such a move to our bilateral relations and the European security architecture, which currently is in a state of crisis.”Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president and prime minister who is currently deputy chairman of the country’s Security Council, went further – suggesting that Moscow would deploy its nuclear weapons to the Baltic region should Finland and Sweden join NATO.